Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 14 December 2019

'Can my employer extend my probation beyond six months?'

The Abu Dhabi resident was hoping the role would become permanent by the end of this month

The company has told the employee they are not sure whether they will keep him on or not. Getty Images
The company has told the employee they are not sure whether they will keep him on or not. Getty Images

I started working for a company in January, and have been there almost six months. I have a six-month probation period so I was expecting my role to become permanent at the end of June. I just had a review and my manager told me that they are not sure they will keep me and that until they decide they will keep me on probation. I don’t like the lack of security. Is a company allowed to do this? KL, Abu Dhabi

KL works for a mainland company so UAE Labour Law applies. This is covered in Article 37 of the law which states: “The worker may be employed for a probation period not exceeding six months where the employer may terminate the services of the worker without notification or end of service gratuity. The worker may not be employed by the same employer for more than one probation period. Should the worker successfully complete the probation period and pursues in his job, the said period shall be deemed as a part of the service period.” Once KL exceeds the first six-month period, his employment will be deemed permanent in law.

My employer has terminated my contract, so it will end in August. They didn’t give me a reason, but have given me two months’ notice. My housing cheques are given to me every January, April, July and October. My end date is August, so will I get the July cheque? I also have 54 days of leave pending and my notice period is two months, so do I get paid or for that or should I take the time off? We don’t have a HR department and I am unsure of my rights. Will I also get three months’ salary paid? QN, Dubai

An employer should give a reason for termination, as this provides clarity to all parties. There is no entitlement in the UAE to any compensation for redundancy and it is acceptable to terminate employment for multiple reasons. The company has given notice and stated that payment will be made during this period, which is correct. QN is on an unlimited contract, so the only time she could be entitled to anything further is if this was deemed a case of arbitrary dismissal.

This is clarified as, "termination by the employer of an employee’s service is considered arbitrary if the cause for such termination has nothing to do with the work" as stated in Article 122 of UAE Labour Law. An issue with work, for example, is not considered arbitrary dismissal. Only if a case is made against an employer for arbitrary dismissal, and the employee wins, is an additional payment due. This is to a maximum of three months’ salary.

Unless a contract states otherwise, a housing allowance is usually allocated monthly, even if paid in advance for the employee’s convenience. so in this case it would be payable in July for the period up to August 2, as this is the final day of employment.

In respect to the large amount of accrued leave, the entitlement depends on company policy. Many companies only permit a certain number of days to be carried forward, so there is not automatic entitlement to pay for all these days. QN needs to find out what the company policy is. The company may ask her to take the days during her notice period or can choose to pay her in lieu at the time of the final settlement.

I have worked for a Sharjah company since October 2016. During this time, I have sponsored my wife so she has a dependent visa. Due to a slump in the business, I have been made redundant with a one-month notice period. My wife is currently in India and I want to know if she has to be present in the UAE for her visa and Emirates Identity Card to be cancelled. I have to cancel hers before mine is cancelled, but my boss says that if mine is cancelled, hers is done by default. Is this correct? DG, Sharjah

No UAE visas are cancelled automatically. If an individual sponsors his spouse, children and other dependents, they must cancel the dependents’ visas first before their own visa is cancelled. It is not essential that a dependent is in the country for a visa to be cancelled and in most cases a copy of their passport and visa is sufficient. The sponsor will require their own passport and identity card.

The dependent's visa should be cancelled by the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) in the relevant emirate. For Sharjah this is www.snrd.ae/ . The fees are in the region of Dh100 and the cancellation is usually completed within the day. In some cases, it may be possible to action a cancellation online through the Ministry of Interior website, via the e-services section of www.moi.gov.ae.

Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser and senior partner with Holborn Assets in Dubai, with more than 25 years’ experience. Contact her at keren@holbornassets.com. Follow her on Twitter at @FinancialUAE

The advice provided in our columns does not constitute legal advice and is provided for information only

Updated: June 14, 2019 04:49 PM

SHARE

SHARE